Monday, April 28, 2008

My Town Monday: Home on the Ana

I've lived in Anaheim for over 20 years now, and it took me a while to figure out what the name meant. The town was settled in 1857 by a group of German winemakers and farmers. From my college German, I knew "heim" meant home, but at first I didn't realize the "Ana" part referred to the Santa Ana River. Perhaps that was because nowadays the Santa Ana River is a concrete-lined flood channel that rarely has any water in it. :) The photo shows an Anaheim street circa 1879. My, how things have changed.

After the vineyards were destroyed by disease in 1885, the winemakers switched to oranges. The city seal shows oranges in the foreground with a view of snow-capped mountains in the distance. Even now, on a clear day, you can occasionnally see the mountains far away in San Bernardino County. The orange groves were gone by the time I moved here, but there were strawberry fields. Locally grown strawberries can still be found at the occasional fruit stand in Orange County and they are delicious. It seems a shame to pave over prime agricultural land, but that's what's happened all over southern California. When my family first moved here, there were still orange groves in the San Gabriel Valley, where we lived. I remember the fragrance of the orange blossoms in spring.

Anaheim is now the tenth largest city in California, with a population of 345,556. You can occasionally spot an old farmhouse tucked into a neighborhood. The Mother Colony House, built in 1857 by founder George Hansen, still stands today at 414 North West Street. (Mother Colony was the name of one of Anaheim's orange growers.) The oldest museum in the county, it was dedicated on March 14, 1929 and is decorated in period style. It's described as "American Territorial style cottage" built of redwood, now painted white. It's quite small, consisting of only three rooms. A larger, two-story Queen Anne house stands next door. It was designated as State Historical Landmark No. 201 in 1950.


My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin, Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.


Barrie said...

Anaheim is the TENTH largest US city? Who knew? Thanks for such a fun post!

Travis Erwin said...

I think it's cool that pieces of the old Anaheim are still around in such a bustling city of today.

Kathleen Rowland said...

Linda, Thank you for this fascinating bit of history about the great city of Anaheim. I love the photos.

Linda McLaughlin said...


Anaheim is the tenth largest city in Calif. not the US. That surprised me, too, when you consider how many people there are in the state.


Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Linda,

This is a great blog. I had no idea Anaheim was so big! And the history is marvelous. Thank goodness, those previous generations were tenacious.


Clair Dickson said...

Cool post. I love that you figured out what the name of town means.

And too bad that the area is being paved over. =( I like trees better.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Terrie, the pioneers were tenacious and determined, thank goodness. I'm glad some reminder of their struggles survives.

Clair, I like trees better, too. Unfortunately, the trees on my street are those messy Chinese elms. I'll post some pictures in the fall of all the stuff they drop on the sidewalk. :(


The Anti-Wife said...

Tenth largest! Wow. When I think of Anaheim, Disneyland is the first thing that comes to mind. It's hard to envision grapevines or orange groves there.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how built up our areas are becoming, isn't it? It's very sad in a way, but then that's 'progress'. Thanks for this peek into the past, Linda. I especially love the photo of the old Anaheim street. So cool to see.


Linda McLaughlin said...

It's true that Disneyland is the only reason anyone outside of the local area recognizes the name Anaheim. And while it might seem odd to think of Anaheim aka Disneyland and agriculture, there was a strawberry field across the street from the Disneyland Hotel for years. In fact, it's only been gone for a few years, since the latest remodel. :)

I have to wonder if the day will come when the entire county will be paved over. How sad that would be.


WordVixen said...

Linda- Don't forget the Anaheim Ducks! While hubby and I do want to head out your way some day, it's because of Disneyland. Can't help it. We're Disney freaks.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Oops, I did forget to mention the Ducks. Tourism is probably Anaheim's biggest industry these days, thanks to Disneyland and California Adventure. Hope you make it some day.


WordVixen said...
Don't forget the Anaheim Ducks! While hubby and I do want to head out your way some day, it's because of Disneyland. Can't help it. We're Disney freaks.

Debbielou said...

Sounds like a really interesting place to visit!

Linda McLaughlin said...

Debbielou, it does sound interesting. I'll have to find out when the old house is open and take a peek inside.